Home > Uncategorized > Wonderful Day at the Capitol

Wonderful Day at the Capitol

March 31, 2014

Once the sun came out, it was a beautiful day – a bit windy, but beautiful. The Tulsa World estimates that nearly 25,000 were in attendance for today’s education rally at the Capitol.

Because of the crowd and the wind, I can only say I heard most of what today’s speakers said. For my money, three absolutely nailed it.

First was Peter Markes – Oklahoma’s reigning Teacher of the Year. He drew great parallels between farming and education, weaving both the funding issues and senseless mandates into his metaphor. This is the second time I’ve been fortunate enough to hear him speak, and he does not disappoint. He’s exactly what Oklahoma’s teachers expect in an ambassador – someone who believes in the profession and who fights the lie that public education is failing our children.

Next was Asher Nees, a student from Norman and the current president of the Oklahoma Association of Student Councils. He commented on the things he has noticed in public education, namely increased class sizes and policies that diminish student choices. He said he was there to fight to restore public education to something better for his younger siblings. (That is definitely a paraphrase. There was a lot of noise around me at this point.)

The one who really lifted the energy of the crowd was Tulsa Superintendent Keith Ballard. He hit the funding points, but he concentrated on a more important theme: respect. Every reform that has passed during the last few years shows that those making policy don’t respect the work that those of us who work with kids do. So many talking points from the governor, state superintendent, and countless legislators have come with a Let them eat cake attitude. The lack of concern for teachers, their working conditions, and most importantly, their students has been consistent. Disparage people long enough and they’ll let you hear about it.

*****

Here are a few pictures that readers sent me from the rally today.

Great view of the estimated 25,000 in attendance!

Great view of the estimated 25,000 in attendance!

How much is enough? Just ask Oklahoma teachers and parents. We've definitely had it!

How much is enough? Just ask Oklahoma teachers and parents. We’ve definitely had it!

I actually selected this one for the yellow sign in back. The sentiment is perfect. None of us wanted to be at the rally. We'd prefer the legislature fund and respect public education without us having to show up.

I actually selected this one for the yellow sign in back. The sentiment is perfect. None of us wanted to be at the rally. We’d prefer the legislature fund and respect public education without us having to show up.

The back of the shirt showed the decline in state aid each of the last five years.

The back of the shirt showed the decline in state aid each of the last five years.

Don't forget the glamour!

Don’t forget the glamour!

#coldpop

#coldpop

Simple, yet well-stated

Simple, yet well-stated

My favorite shirt of the day

My favorite shirt of the day

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  1. joeddins
    March 31, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Thank you for the wonderful report.

    Like

  2. Skeptical Teacher
    April 1, 2014 at 11:27 am

    If we had really wanted to make a genuine statement, we would have done this over Spring Break, on our own time. Instead, we did it on our students’ time. Right before state testing, we took a phony “snow day.” We made our point at the expense of our students.

    We call ourselves professionals, right?

    Like

    • April 1, 2014 at 8:45 pm

      Unfortunately (and I believe I’ve covered this before), Spring Break is the least effective time to get an audience with your legislator.

      Like

    • July 17, 2014 at 10:46 pm

      Professionals don’t sit around without opinions as their industry is bled dry by politicians. Educators, parents, school board members, administrators, other citizens, students met at the Capitol and exercised their right to redress their government leaders. This is the beauty of our democracy. How do you consider this was done at the expense of the students? They are learning more about how our system works, it is a civics lesson hands on. If teachers don’t stand up for better education funding for the schools and students they serve, who will. We aren’t wimps!!! Commitment also means getting serious and taking action that demands the attention of the policy makers. Sorry you don’t agree. I wonder if you are a member of the ‘union’ that advocates for your kids, your salary and benefits, sick leave etc. If you don’t pay dues then do you reject these benefits paid for by the ‘union’ members? Or are you a slacker who gets these off the generosity of the rest of us?
      There’s a good question. Right to work states have the crumbiest educational spending. I’m not proud of this, are you?

      Like

  3. July 17, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Also wondering if you’d admit attending the rally or if you when shopping and caught a movie instead of serving your profession at the Capitol.

    Like

  1. December 28, 2014 at 10:18 pm
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